Under resourced and poorly managed – The Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Family Law
Updated: May 22
In my recent blog “Why the parliamentary inquiry into family law is failing” I outlined the various reasons for my concerns and will now elaborate on the speed of processing the submissions.
While I have not been regimented in tracking the processing every week, I have been running a spreadsheet and saved several data points as you can see on the graphic.
True: I am assuming what I have been told that there are “3,800 submissions and counting” however this seems to match what a colleague got told 3,600 some time prior to the number I was given so they are still rolling in!
True: I am assuming there is not a processing blitz however this may make it difficult for committee members to read them!
True: I do not know if they have processed another 2,000 submission and just awaiting permission to post them however they have been very consistent in their publication rates so doubt that.
I will treat the reader as a thinking person rather than unintelligent so ask you to look at the graphic and draw your own conclusion.
At different times I was told that the inquiry is on hold, but that is clearly not the case as I know one person that has been interviewed by the committee over the phone (late April) and it is clear the secretariat staff are still processing submissions (I am told from home). It has only been the public hearings that have been put on hold due to the Covid19 pandemic.
The conclusion I have reached is that the secretariat is not managing the process to complete the task at hand, in the time required as it is clear they will only accomplish the processing of around half of the submissions before the inquiry is closed. Lets all hope that I am wrong!
We therefore have to ask how many people the committee will write to, to say:
Thank you for your submission. We know how important your submission is to you and the deeply personal heartache you possibly went through sending it to us. Unfortunately, we were inundated with submissions and regret to say we never got to yours, so no one even looked at it!
We thank you for your participation in the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Family Law and input into the democratic process.
I have worked in the public service in the past and know that in some areas, they simply do not want to deliver bad news up the ladder. Perhaps the Committee or the Secretariat should alert the Minister for the Public Service (currently Scott Morrison) to the dilemma they will face while there is time, and just maybe, they could look at the approximately 6 million people sent home on Jobkeeper to see if there are some editors amongst them that could do with a month’s work and prevent this from occurring!
My correspondence and blogs show my consistent concerns for the running of this inquiry and the hopes that it will be a shining success and negate the need, costs and time delays of a subsequent Royal Commission:
24th September 2019 (at the start of this inquiry) Family Law Joint Parliamentary Inquiry announced - Will witnesses be silenced?
3rd December 2019 Scott Morrison – I hope you are listening
Letter of 12th February 2020 to the PM alerting him of this concern (along with other concerns with copies to the secretariat and committee chair).
23rd April 2020 “Why the parliamentary inquiry into family law is failing”
Unfortunately, with bushfires and CoVid, we can all understand how the PM’s focus may have moved away from this inquiry and why I did not get a response, but I just hope someone can alert him!
What do you think and I am happy for you to voice your concerns and send the graphic to your politician?